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Six Rare Pieces of Animated Ephemera

Here are six good and rare animation-related clips I discovered on Critical Past, a stock footage house that specializes in films from US government agencies.

Walt Disney testimony

Not Walt Disney’s finest moment: his 1947 testimony in front of the House Un-American Activities committee HERE and HERE.

A Few Quick Facts: Japan

Japan, earthquakes and animation from 1945: “A Few Quick Facts: Japan” was produced by UPA for the Army-Navy Screen Magazine.

Fred Moore

Animator Fred Moore working at his desk (or at least pretending to work). Over one minute of Freddie footage from 1943. Does any other footage of Moore animating exist?

Joseph Boondock

A clip from a 1958 military film produced by New York studio Film Graphics Inc, which was co-owned by Lee Blair (Mary Blair’s husband).


Footage of animators working in the FMPU (First Motion Picture Unit), plus a clip from a FMPU training film. I see Joe Smith and Gus Arriola in this clip, as well as the back of Rudy Larriva and Jules Engel’s heads (I think).

Disorientation Crashes

Disorientation Crashes, a handsome UPA short produced for the US Navy’s “Flight Safety” series. Most likely designed by Bill Hurtz and animated by Bobe Cannon and Willis Pyle.

  • Great and very rare stuff, Amid. Thank you for posting this. To answer your question, there is footage of Fred Moore animating in the 1937 short “A Trip Through the Walt Disney Studios” and its slightly shorter version “How Walt Disney Cartoons are Made.” Both these films were included on the DVD and Blu-ray releases of “Snow white and the Seven Dwarfs,” and can be seen on YouTube, as here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=au5W_CPLP2Y

  • Thanks for directing us to these films. They’re treasures of a sort hidden in the government’s warehouses. Wonderful material.

  • FriendtoAll

    Now we finally have irrevocable proof that Walt Disney was am evil, wicked person. You wouldn’t have caught Max Fleischer dead trying to testify to HUAC. That’s why his cartoons are better than Disney’s.

    • James Mason

      If this proved Disney was an “evil, wicked person”, so were the vast majority of businessmen in the United States. As far as I know Samuel Goldwyn was the only studio head to not testify when ordered to by the state congress.

      With large traction gained as early as the 20s and 30s, state and local governments propagated the belief and fear of a possible Red Revolution in the U.S., particularly against open unionists and those with immigrant status. Up to the 50s, unions were often assumed to have Bolshevik ideals. This pervasive belief in the U.S. influenced some of Disney’s more stubborn business practices up to the now infamous strikes.

      Giving the hint of Communist leanings by not testifying was considered a suicidal business practice, and most businessmen were willing to comply knowing that they risked permanently damaging or losing their businesses otherwise, and much of the heat was directed in Hollywood.

      The red scare proved to be a false political ideology, but at the time, it was strictly enforced. Not testifying would have been widely seen as a virtually traitorous and criminal. It’s not surprising to see most gave in when under the brunt of the pressure, especially those that relied on a positive public image at the time.

  • Oliver

    In before any right-wing revisionist historians lurking around…

    No-one disputes there were Communist spies operating in post-war America.

    All the more reason, then, to simply empower the FBI and CIA to get on with the task of uncovering and arresting them, letting the trials speak for themselves — as opposed to Congressmen and Senators using an unConstitutional kangaroo court to publically humiliate, intimidate and blacklist innocent, hard-working film-makers who were NOT Communists (Chaplin); who had RENOUNCED Communism years ago (Dassin); or who, even when they were Communists (Trumbo), were NOT engaged in any criminal or subversive activity whatsoever, and whose chosen profession, movie making, had been granted 1st Amendment protection by unanimous vote of the Supreme Court.

    • Gerard de Souza

      It would have been one thing to have gone after spies…but was it ever illegal to be a communist? The irony is those who had affiliated themselves at one time or another (mostly searching for a political alternative during The Great Depression) were in a country that professes freedom to believe and practise whatever system they wish.
      That was the problem with this witch hunt; it wasn’t after just spies.

      George Clooney’s Goodnight and Good Luck is a great flick about this era.

      What’s that saying? “I don’t accept what you believe but fight for your right to believe it.”?

      The whole red scare thing’s climax was Joe McCarthy’s political opportunism to create a chicken-little-sky-is-falling crisis to gain him power and noteriety. We see this all the time in history and politics; take a general sentiment in population, exaggerate it to fabricate the illusion of a crisis so the oppurtunist/instigator can take it upon himself can lead us out of the illusionary woods.

      I think Walt always felt union was synonomous with commie/socialist. There’s that ancient Alice film where the Barnyard animals go on strike. Oddly enough, I first read about it in Marc Eliot’s book and then saw it on the rarities DVD. Sorry, can’t think of the name now.

  • Is there a toy of “Patoruzu” (The argentinian character) behind Fred Moore?

  • “Does any other footage exist of Fred Moore animating”

    This is the footage from the Snow White making-of “how Walt Disney Cartoons are Made” , starting at the 2:17 mark – to – 2:31 it shows Fred Moore drawing:


  • Wow, nice find Amid. Thanks for sharing. Wonderful to watch Freddie “work” and Walt speak.

  • Bob Lindstrom

    I’m still trying to figure out why this was “not Walt Disney’s finest moment.” He says that his conclusion that Sorrell was a communist are based only to what he heard and observed and notes that Sorrell told him he spent the money of communist sympathizers (a fact that Sorrell himself admitted in the ’50s.) Doesn’t sound unreasonable to me at all.

    Further, I don’t hear Walt expressing any anti-union sentiments or identifying employees or colleagues as communists. Rather, he says that he would back his employees in whatever desire they had for labor organization, as long as it truly represented their desires.

    Over 60 years later, we don’t need to rehash the criminal abuse that occurred because of the “commie witchhunt” (and the resultant political grandstanding) of the late ’40s and ’50s. It was among the darkest and most shameful periods in American history.

    On the other hand, to this day, the uncritical castigation of HUAC participants and witness continues, which IMO constitutes a witchhunt of its own.

    • amid

      I don’t hear Walt expressing any anti-union sentiments or identifying employees or colleagues as communists. Rather, he says that he would back his employees in whatever desire they had for labor organization, as long as it truly represented their desires.

      Actions count louder than words, and if you took the time to familiarize yourself with the strike, you’d know that Walt did not back his employees in their honest desires for labor organization. His blame of the Commie bogeyman afterward showed a stubborn unwillingness to admit why there was discontent at his studio in the first place.

      And your comment about not rehashing the HUAC hearings is mind-boggling. If it’s, as you say, one of the”darkest and most shameful periods in American history” then we have a moral obligation to learn from that and not allow such abuses of government power to ever happen again.

      • Mal

        The threat wasn’t and still isn’t just a bogeyman; look what the socialist unions have done to California. And if you truly believe that “we have a moral obligation to learn from that and not allow such abuses of government power to ever happen again”, then you might well be a Tea Party supporter, Amid.
        Glad to have you aboard!

      • Bud

        It most certainly IS a “boogey man,” one that’s lost it’s power. The context of the rise of Communism from the teens to the ’50’s is completely understandable, and very much where the likes of the teabaggers are attempting in vain to put us in today. Remember, the economic debacle started LONG before President Obama took office. Hidden, privately financed astroturfing won’t work any more.

      • Opus

        I don’t see where he mentioned Obama, perhaps your screen is showing words my isn’t.
        As for the rest, it might be worth discussing if you didn’t feel the need to use obscene terms to describe people you disagree with. You kind of lose whatever credibility you have.

      • Bob Lindstrom

        “if you took the time to familiarize yourself with the strike”

        You have no knowledge of my degree of expertise on this issue. Nor did you need to question my knowledge to make your point.

      • Peter H

        While it is true that Disney deeply resented the idea that “his boys” felt the need to unionise, and the strike was a very bitter business, this clip is a different ballgame.

        It is 6 years after the strike, and Walt has been required to testify to the HUAA Committee.

        I see a man treading very carefully, trying to answer fully and honestly while both condemning Communisism in the manner the committee wanted to hear, and at the same time naming no-one other than Sorrell, defending the motives of “his boys”, and stressing the need to protect America’s liberal values.

        I think he stepped the minefield rather well!

  • Thanks for these posts, Amid!
    Love the “Disorientation Crashes” best. So economical and STILL so entertaining and educational.

    A BIBLE.

  • Famous

    The distinctive baritone of Jackson Beck (the voice of Bluto in the classic Popeye cartoons) can be heard starting about 24 seconds into the 1958 Film Graphics military cartoon clip, as the narrator and voicing a character near the end.

  • Opus


    The CIA, which I’m not even sure existed at that time,(although I could be wrong), is not allowed to work within the borders of the US, only the FBI. So it was the FBI’s job.

    What I find ironic is we had the blacklist for having or simply appearing to have communist leanings. Today, for having or simply appearing to have conservative or Republican leanings will get you blacklisted.

    • Oliver

      “Today, for having or simply appearing to have conservative or Republican leanings will get you blacklisted.”

      Yep, Zack Snyder, Gary Sinese, Mel Gibson, Sam Raimi, Adam Sandler — why, I saw them all at the unemployment office just this morning, LOL!

      • Opus

        Yep,now name more than a handful that aren’t at the top of the food chain already whose political leanings were known before they attained such success.
        Better yet, let’s start naming names,you conservatives, me liberals/left,who do you think will have the longer list?

  • Am I correct that the only way to view these clips, even in small form, is to buy them?

    Pressing the play button has no result.

  • It is curious to see a figure of Patoruzu behind Freddy Moore. Art Babbit told me that he worked as an adviser when they’ve made “Upa en apuros” in Argentina. He also said that he was sent by the department of state in a fact finding mission. Dante Quinterno told me in the sixties that “the man who animated the mushrooms in Fantasia” had helped them in the film.

  • AaronSch

    Of course, I wouldn’t represent it as one of Disney’s finest moments. However, I don’t think it is a black mark on his legacy either. If you were a Disney artist and you didn’t like the pay, you should have packed your bags and sought employment elsewhere or start your own small business. That’s what most of us do.

    America’s unions had a place when sweat shops exploited legal immigrants and exposed their workers to unsafe and inhumane working conditions. However, union activity today has only exploited the “membership” to fatten the wallets of the union bosses and largely acts as a money laundering operation for the Democrat Party.

    It is an incestuous relationship which has burdened both the taxpayers and the manufacturing industry of this country. We now have a bloated government work force that is larger than America’s farm and industrial workforce combined and yet we continue to drive jobs overseas due to over regulation, taxes and an increasing burden of entitlements. The future is not going to be pretty and the unions and their political operatives are largely to blame.

  • Mark Newgarden

    Amid: Disorientation Crashes definitely designed by Hurtz- I have a couple of his layouts for this one.

  • Markus

    [Comment removed by editors. Per our commenting guidelines, “Stay on-topic. Comments are not a place to post random thoughts, “say hi,” or discuss ideas not directly related to the post.“]

  • Markus

    I agree with Mal which apparently stayed more on topic than I did even though we were raising the same point related to Walt Disney fighting the communist menace that has been fulfilled.

    Mal says: 04/12/11 4:10pm
    The threat wasn’t and still isn’t just a bogeyman; look what the socialist unions have done to California. And if you truly believe that “we have a moral obligation to learn from that and not allow such abuses of government power to ever happen again”, then you might well be a Tea Party supporter, Amid.

    Glad to have you aboard!

    • The Brewmasters

      That’s off-topic too. Look at the post up top and ask yourself if any of the animation-related videos have anything to do with the random nonsense some of you are spewing.

  • The clip with Freddie Moore is interesting – the opening scene shows the only image I have ever seen of the Studio’s service flag.

    Each star on that flag represented an employee serving in the Armed Forces. A gold star represented an employee killed in the line of duty.

    The Studio’s service flag was mentioned in the 1943 issue of the Studio newsletter Dispatch From Disney’s.

    A letter “penned” by Mickey Mouse read, “We how have quite a service flag and all of us here are damned proud of it. We have it hanging in the 2nd floor window facing the theater and it’s visible from the walk as you come in from the commissary. Nora and Esther made it at night after work and we think it’s the best looking in the valley.”

    By 1944 the Studio’s service flag had 165 stars on it. The breakdown of staff included: 85 Army, 49 Navy, 21 Marines, seven Waves, two Merchant Marine, and one WASP. The flag also displayed five Gold Stars. Disney employees that had been killed in action included: Burdette Sykora, Assistant Direction, Gerald James from Animation, John Leighton Jr. from the New York office, Robert Squire from the Cutting Department and Bernard Walmsley from Traffic. The 165 stars represented more than 25% of the Studio’s manpower.

  • Andy

    Wow! This is a heated argument. I’ve read most of the books dealing with this segment of animation history, and I don’t pretend to be an expert. Walt Disney was an utter dick about a shitload of things, but OTOH he was sharp enough to let Freddie Moore give us some of the most delightful animation ever. And I really appreciate the clip.